Machine and process know-how along the entire process chain for composites

Machine and process know-how…
During the JEC Composite Show Europe in Paris, KraussMaffei will present its know-how regarding machine and process technology for the production of composites along the entire process chain - from component development, pre-production and component testing through to series production and post-mold processing.

From automobile production and the construction and furniture industries through to the leisure industry - composites are now being used to an increasing extent in many industries and applications on account of their unique properties. "KraussMaffei furnishes all services along the process chain and for complete process planning from a single source. We will demonstrate our know-how at JEC by means of numerous practical examples. We will therefore prove that we offer our customers the right process for optimized production for all corresponding component requirements", emphasized Erich Fries, Product Manager Composites at KraussMaffei.

For example, the long fiber injection (LFI) process is used along with in-mold painting for large-format components for trucks and agricultural machinery on account of the premium quality surface and the reasonable machine costs. The brochure entitled "Fiber Composite Solutions" of the manufacturer contains a detailed description of many other processes for lightweight components.

Machine and process know-how along the entire process chain for composites

"KraussMaffei also has the necessary special know-how for the production of high pressure mixing heads with laminar, splash-free material flow and highly accurate high pressure metering systems, as well as extensive experience in the design of different systems for flexible and high strength polyurethane products", added Fries. The product portfolio also includes various machine components covering the entire production process, for example mold carriers, polyurethane molds and cutting solutions for the manufacture of ready-to-install fiber composite components.

One major advantage for lightweight construction applications is the production of a carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) component using the high pressure resin transfer molding (HD-RTM) process with all work steps along the entire process chain. This begins with the assembly of the fibers and production of the dry fiber preforms. They are then guided into a mold specially designed and manufactured by KraussMaffei.

"Of particular interest in this regard is the design of the mold carrier of type SFT-MX600 with components from injection molding technology“, explained Frank Peters, Managing Director of Reaction Process Machinery at KraussMaffei.

"Its modular concept makes use of proven components and the advantages of injection molding machine series production to create user-specific solutions." Customers feel the benefit produced by premium quality technology and shorter delivery times of the sophisticated machines, for example the central mold carriers in our HD-RTM system.

This includes a RimStar thermal mixing and metering unit which features our worldwide unique stainless steel pump. This pump was developed at our plant in Munich and supplies the RTM high pressure mixing head. The mixing head mixes the components at high pressure, meters internal release agents and feeds the matrix material into the mold at low pressures. The carbon fibers are impregnated with the resin in the closed mold. Hardening then takes place in a cycle time of less than 4 minutes.

The CFRP parts are then removed and fed for finishing into a RoutingStar milling cell. CFRP-friendly cutting tools and an optimized patented extractor inside the milling head reduce dust and contamination of the components. Use of the high pressure resin transfer molding (HD-RTM) process is becoming increasingly more important in large-scale production in high-tech industries.

This process is especially suitable for automated and economical production of lightweight, but high strength carbon fiber composites. The possibility of producing these components through high pressure processing of highly reactive resins and thus within short cycle times satisfies the demands of the automobile industry in particular.

"This was confirmed by the recent orders for machines and systems for series production of CFRP components", stressed Fries.

Reliable partnerships are the prerequisite for efficient implementation in this respect. For example as part of its cooperation with Dieffenbacher GmbH, KraussMaffei supplies complete systems which cover the entire production process from processing of the carbon fibers through to the ready-to-install, post-mold finished part.